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THELMA B. WARWOOD v. LANCASTER COUNTY BOARD ASSISTANCE (11/22/77)

decided: November 22, 1977.

THELMA B. WARWOOD, PETITIONER
v.
LANCASTER COUNTY BOARD OF ASSISTANCE, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the State Civil Service Commission in case of In Re: Thelma B. Warwood, No. 1784.

COUNSEL

Charles W. Johnston, Jr., with him Handler, Gerger and Weinstock, for petitioner.

Robert E. Kelly, with him Lynne M. Mountz, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for respondent.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 469]

On September 22, 1976, the State Civil Service Commission (Commission) issued an order dismissing the appeal of Thelma B. Warwood from a December 4, 1975 extension of her probationary status as an Income Maintenance Worker II and from a March 12, 1976 demotion to Income Maintenance Worker I. Warwood has appealed only the decision concerning the extension of her probationary status to this Court.

Warwood, an employee of the Lancaster County Board of Assistance (appointing authority), was promoted to the position of Income Maintenance Worker II, probationary status. During her probationary period, which was to last 6 months, Warwood's performance was continually monitored so that her ability to perform her new duties satisfactorily could be determined.*fn1 Initially, she had difficulty handling the work, and her supervisor was compelled to redistribute a large portion of her caseload to the other employees. Gradually, most of the work was returned to Warwood, although specific problems remained. Finally, a formal evaluation was made of Warwood's performance. The report of this evaluation, which was presented to Warwood on December 4, 1975, contained unsatisfactory ratings in the areas of quality of work and work habits. It also purported to extend her probationary status for an additional 3 months. The reasons for this personnel action included Warwood's ineffective planning and organization of work, her failure to organize field visiting and maintain accurate record keeping, and her unreceptive attitude

[ 32 Pa. Commw. Page 470]

    toward constructive criticism. Warwood refused to sign this report. Thereafter, she appealed the personnel action to the Commission.

Warwood's subsequent performance showed little sign of improvement, and near the end of her extended probationary period she received notice of her pending demotion. The notice specified as aspects of her unsatisfactory performance her inaccurate recording and reporting of information in case records and her failure to complete follow-up work on a timely basis. Warwood also appealed this personnel action, alleging discrimination for nonmerit reasons.

A hearing was subsequently held before the Commission on both of Warwood's appeals. During the hearing, it was revealed that Warwood was responsible for several gross overpayments involving thousands of taxpayer dollars. It was not revealed that any of these large sums were recovered. Among other errors attributed to her was the failure to maintain adequate records of her comparatively high expenses. The Commission failed to find any evidence to support Warwood's charges of discrimination. On the contrary, it found substantial and credible evidence to support the appointing authority's personnel actions.

On appeal to this Court, Warwood has chosen not to further contest her demotion. Thus, she does not suggest that her performance was satisfactory or that nonmerit factors were responsible for the demotion. See, e.g., Philadelphia County Board of Assistance v. Cahan, 24 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 543, 358 A.2d 440 (1976); Section 706 of the Civil Service Act (Act), Act of August 5, 1941, P.L. 752, as amended, 71 P.S. ยง 741.706. Rather, she contends that the extension of her probationary period was contrary to ...


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